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​3% pay uplift confirmed

21 July 2021

 

The UK government has finally confirmed a 3% pay award for 2021/22.

 

This meets the recommendations made in the 49th report of the Review Body on Doctors' and Dentists' Remuneration (DDRB) in full, and marks the third consecutive above-inflation increase following a decade of pay restraint, which saw real incomes for practitioners fall by over 35%. This should mean:

 

  • The 3% uplift on pay will be backdated to April, with no staging
  • Community dentists will receive the 3% uplift in full
  • A final uplift to contract values for GDPs will be confirmed following consultations on expenses in the four UK nations
  • Consultants will see a 3% uplift in basic pay (Specialty and Associate Specialists (SAS) and Juniors have separately agreed pay deals).

The Welsh Government has quickly confirmed the same offer, and we are now seeking urgent clarity from other devolved governments on their approach.


A long-term approach to pay is now required to keep NHS dentistry viable. The pandemic has added to long-term pressures facing general dental services across the UK. Recent surveys indicate nearly half (47%) of dentists in England are now likely to reduce their NHS commitment, should current restrictions remain in place.

 

BDA Deputy Chair Peter Crooks has said: "Even before COVID, a growing number of colleagues saw no future in the NHS. If we’re ever going to make this service a going concern, fair pay must remain the rule.”

 

With inflation now at 2.5% we have stressed an ongoing commitment to fair pay is required to guarantee the long-term sustainability of the service, alongside parallel action on a roadmap to ease pandemic restrictions, and meaningful reform of the contractual systems NHS dentistry operates to. The discredited activity-based systems in operation across the UK have fuelled recruitment and retention problems and have proved unworkable since lockdown.

 

The announcement will see the 3% uplift on pay backdated to April, with no staging. This will apply to community dentists in full, with a final uplift to contract values for general dental practitioners to be confirmed following consultations on expenses in the four UK nations. Consultants will see a 3% uplift in basic pay (Specialty and Associate Specialists (SAS) and Juniors have separately agreed pay deals). We have encouraged practice owners to engage with their associate dentists to discuss their contractual arrangements in light of the uplift.

 

BDA Deputy Chair Peter Crooks added: “Both providers and performers need to see the benefit of this uplift. This has been a hard year for practices, but we look to owners to ensure this increase reaches their associates. Even before COVID, a growing number of colleagues saw no future in the NHS. If we’re ever going to make this service a going concern, fair pay must remain the rule.”

 

In Northern Ireland, the DDRB process has long been fraught with significant delay, evidenced by the new SDR incorporating the pay uplift for 20/21 having only just been issued. The uplift reflects a 2.58% increase to gross fees and allowances payable from the 1 April 2020. This increase ensures a 2.8% increase to net pay for GDPs in accordance with 20/21 DDRB recommendations. We will continue to push for unacceptable delays to be taken out of the system, and for all dentists to receive above inflation pay uplifts that reflects the vital work done by dentists across the UK. Members in Northern Ireland can access our updated Fees Guide 2020-21 , and refer to the full Statement of Dental Remuneration for further details. We will continue to push for unacceptable delays to be taken out of the system.